6 Tips for Malaysians going Australia

Let me tell you what you need for an awesome trip in Australia. We all love travelling, we love to be swept away off our feet with expectations about other countries' culture and of course anticipating the delicious local food. I've been fortunate enough to pay a visit to the nearest English speaking country, Australia (let's not put Singapore into the game) last September and it's really an eye opening trip.

But it would be better if just someone would tell me these 5 tips. (But these tips are more applicable to those heading Sydney or probably Melbourne, not sure if it will be useful in other cities)

1. Do not underestimate the weather. I repeat, DO NOT.
I was told that it's gonna be around 16 to 23 celcius degree back then, and I am like:

"That's alright, it's just like air conditioned room. No biggies. " 

And truth is, it's not the chilliness that kills my feet, it's the wind! I am constantly shivering in Sydney on the first few days (because Sydney surrounded by sea, the wind force can be really strong and super chilly) the short skirt that I brought is sitting on the luggage bag throughout the trip.

Just because it's cold and chilly, don't forgot that Australia's sun can be hostile! Remember to bring a hat or cap if you don't want to bring back some Australian freckles as a souvenir!

Must remember:
1. Hat / Sunblock
2. Sunglasses
3. warm pants & clothes

No matter if you are going to Australia during the winter, summer or spring. Australia's air is dry. You going to have a pair of cracked lips or itchy dry skin if you forgot the moisturiser at home!

2. Get a good camera, and a "camera man".
It's a blessing that I went there with Leon and he basically trained now and graduated as my personal photographer. All my pictures are taken with Sony A5000 and I bought it just for this trip at RM1400 in Penang.

My rational is, you are going to another country, you are going to spend, the exchange rate is high, poor one like me will probably not have the fund and chance to visit for the second time, so invest in a good camera, keep all the memory! It's the most legal and cheapest way to "STEAL" Australia home.

After all, the best thing about Sydney, is the overwhelming view. Take some nice pictures!

3. Order "Lime and bitters" and relax
Lime and Bitters is a mock-tail, no alcohol (no worry to my non-drinking friends!) Best time in Sydney I could recall is sitting next to the sea with lime and bitters on my right hand, sea breeze sweeping over my face. It's an overwhelming experience, the view, and the best Lime and Bitters (tried some other bar it taste shitty). Don't forgot to order some snack to serve with you drinks! Highly recommend the fries!

My recommendations:
Opera Bar and kitchen.
picture credit to boudis,com
While listening to the live music, I am enjoying how the whole ambiance taking me away, somewhere far, far far away.

And of course, before Opera house, don't forget to pay a visit the most interesting and iconic architecture, the Sydney Opera House.

4. Shopping, shop wisely! 
I guess if you googled "what to buy in Australia", you can never runaway from a list of drug stores that you should visit, simply because Australia health products are JUST SO CHEAP. How cheap is cheap you ask me?

Branded Blackmores Fish Oil for say, 200 capsules for only $14.39 AUD. Say if exchange rate is 3.2, can you get Blackmores in Malaysia for less than RM50?
screen-cap from Discount Chemist website
BUY! Most thoughtful souvenir ever.

If you are keen on shopping in Australia, I probably suggest you forget about buying clothing unless you are planning to buy off season items, or health products. Oh yes, and also chocolate.

My recommendations:
1. Discount Chemist - for health products and cologne
2. Sweet As - chocolates and sweets

Buying chocolate in Sweet As can be tricky, do remember check their expiry date. If you are not going to keep them too long, try to buy those that will expire soon. They are so cheap, and still good for souvenir. Cheap as in 500g for $4 AUD, and I am talking brand like Lindt. I got some for my friends and they ask me for more, you can definitely rest assured they will be finished before expiry!

I spent around $150 AUD just on the health products and chocolate. #broke.

5. Backpack & comfortable shoes are essential. 
My trip in Australia include 2 days in Sydney, 2 days tour to Philip Island and 5 days in Melbourne, we barely spend on transport (except for Philip Island). For that much of walking, a nice, comfortable kicks is really important. Forgot about heels, they doesn't work it ways through.

I also learnt that it's a MUST to bring a backpack around to put your drinks, snacks and also some tour guides map. It's extra convenient!

6. Don't forgot there is GST! 
Australian have to pay a rather high GST every item they bought. However, as a tourist, if you spend $300 AUD or more in goods from a single retailer, you are eligible for a refund of the goods and services tax (GST) that you paid on those items. You must get an original tax invoice from the store where you made the purchase and present it when you depart Australia!

Signing off
Missing Australia already!

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